12.31.2015

a new owl top for my daughter | NEWLOOK pattern 6374

The rain stopped (yay!), with sunshine and blue skies emerging, it was determined a great time to take photos of Melissa in her new owl shirt.  Buster the Cat wanted to be a part.   She never asks me to make her anything, other than pajama pants, so this shirt was a surprise for her fall birthday.
This is NEWLOOK 6374, in spite of what the envelope below says.   I made view A, modified.  I cut a size 10 and shortened to a top with the same curvy hem as the tunic.  Deleted the hi/low hemline.  It is still a longish top, but perfect with her jeggings she likes to wear.  3/8" seam allowances, with 5/8" armscythe and sleeve seam allowances.  She wanted simple sleeves, so simply turned sleeve hem up 1/4" and another 1/4" and straight stitched.  Let's look a little more at the shirt made of rayon challis..... perfect material for this type of top, giving it lots of flow and drape.
The shirt was not quite done by her birthday and am glad I showed her where I was at with it, as she was able to tell me how she wanted it finished.  Below you can see the simple sleeve she wanted.  She did not want the roll up sleeve with button closure, so this part was really easy.  There may have been a squeal heard when she saw the owl print.  :)
The back with all her hair covering the cool yoke.  *sigh*  Can't think of everything when taking photographs.  Anyway, lots of time was taken getting all the little owls lined up just right on the back yoke.  There's a pleat somewhere in there too.  Here you can also see how long the top still is.
Lots of time was taken with owl placement on the two front yokes too.  One was cut upside down and had to be redone.  Hard to see any of that now with the shirt being worn.  I wanted this to mimic a rtw top she has, so did not interface the placket or neckline facing as I wanted them soft and moveable. 
 The placket gave me the most struggles.  After taking this picture, I ripped out the puckered seam and did not follow the given instructions.....
....instead sandwiching the placket with that little piece tucked inside.
It turned out well.  This is a loooooong placket and is sewn shut a few inches from its bottom for no gaps.  It would look nice to make this shirt with a much shorter placket next time.  No buttons.  It's meant to be 'open'.
 Another shot of the sleeves and hem.
 Buster insisted on his own personal photo shoot.
The rayon challis was purchased from Hancock Fabrics for $6.50 yard.  Used 2 yards, so this shirt cost $13.  Oh but it is priceless to me, as not only does this cute top fit my daughter..... but she loves it!  And she wears it!!!!!  Even better.  :)

This was my last make for 2015.  I'd like to pull together a 2015 in review post, as well as post a few 2016 goals, soon.

Meanwhile, Happy New Year!

4th Ottobre No. 14 Loose Fit Pant from 2/2015 Spring/Summer Women's issue

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! We enjoyed a quiet Christmas in wet and rainy South Carolina, thus the indoor pictures this day.  It is still raining.  We are flooding.  Seriously.  Thankfully our home is on top of a mountain.  Our area is breaking all sorts of records for warm temps and water levels.  Strange to spend Christmas in short sleeves here.
Okay, back to the pants.   No. 14 Loose Fit Casual Linen Pants (that I've never made from linen) pattern from Ottobre's 2/2015 Spring/Summer Women's Issue.  I've made size 38 in all pairs for me, so they fit me not-so-loose, but just right.  The original pattern is more of a cropped pant, than long and skinny, but I like them both ways.  This particular pair is made of soft thin-twill-like 100% cotton material purchased from my local Wal-Mart for $5.97/yard.  Used 2 yards. 
Surely there's much boredom with these oh-so-basic and boring elastic-waist, pull-on pants, but I love 'em and they fill a big need for casual, nice-looking basics in my wardrobe.  I'm wearing the Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 top with them here.  The pants were made from my lengthened, skinnified pattern modifications from this pair.  You can see the other two here and here that were made from the original pattern design.
Love the pockets!  Recently found these cute casual shoes that are also comfortable for my feet..... and they match my new pants perfectly!  Yes!
Seem's I'm always in motion and standing crooked, so just enhanced the crookedness in this back photo.  Wonder if I need to lengthen them a little bit more?  Or are they just right?  hmmmm, decisions, decisions.  I'd already modified the base pattern for a full butt adjustment that was also included here.  Goodness, that sounds so funny!
The Canon Rebel t3 has been a fantastic camera for many, many years, but mine was not wireless remote capable and as I've moved into self-photographs of my handmade clothes, the timer setting was not producing well-focused frames.  So this Christmas, after much research, I was lucky enough to find a Nikon D3300 on clearance at our local Sam's Club and have been having fun learning all its cool features.  One of which is to frame and photograph by syncing it through your iphone, which I'm using below.  I'm also learning that it sucks the iphone battery down fast and it's really better to use the wireless remote.  A new learning curve. 
And my verbena is blooming.  And my iris and daffodils have buds!  This is not good as surely cold weather is around the corner and will freeze them out fast.  Hoping we will still have a pretty spring in spite of all this crazy, mixed up weather.
And as today is the last day of 2015, I want to wish all my friends around the world, a most Happy New Year!  I look forward to continuing to be a part of this wonderful international world of sewing.  Thank you so much for enriching my life.
Hugs!

Update 1.04.2016:  I forgot to mention that I used Coats and Clark Button Craft Thread for the outside side seam topstitching.  I always like to top-stitch the outside side seams to give a basic/boring pair of pants a nice faux-flat fell look.... and it also makes it easier to iron.  :)  Very happy with the way this heavier, thicker thread looked.  My sample example shown below.

12.11.2015

a third Ottobre No. 14 Loose Fit Pant from 2/2015 Spring/Summer Women's issue

I have made a third pair of Ottobre No. 14 Loose Fit Pant out of brushed cotton twill that I have paired with a rtw Chaps shirt.  My handmade wardrobe is not complete enough to wear entirely handmade; so as it's in the process of being made, I am not buying any new clothes, simply allowing myself to wear the ones already in the closet.  Anyway, back to the pants.  Love 'em! 
I've been wanting a skinny legged pair of pants, and knew the elastic-waist Ottobres fit me well because I've made them twice before, so modified the pattern to become these.  I am pleased.
You might remember the first pair here:
And second pair here:
The pattern is from the 2/2015 Spring/Summer Issue of the Ottobre Women's magazine
and is called No. 14 Loose Fit casual linen pants.  None of my pairs have been made out of linen.
Used the full butt adjustment I made in the 2nd pair of pants as those fit great.  Added 2" to the length, which was almost not enough, but still able to squeak out a 3/4" hem.  Narrowed each leg a total of 2" at the bottom from the knee area down (1/2" each pattern piece) which brought the width circumference to @12".  This is a perfect skinny leg width for me.  It's wide enough to get your foot through, but a skinny fit once on.  In construction steps, these were made like the others, which is a different than what Ottobre would have you do as I wrote about in the first pant's post.  All seams are serged.  Oh, I also top stitched the outside seams with a single needle.  Not only do I prefer that 'look', but it makes ironing so much easier.  Fabric came from Hancock's and at @58" wide, only used @1 1/4 yard.
Because the twill is thick, coordinating quilting cotton from the stash was used for the pocket linings.
Took a little time to experiment with camera settings and lighting this day.  Below, is actually what I wore today.  The jacket is rtw too, and after seeing these photos, not sure it coordinated as well as maybe I thought it did.  Hmmm.  This photo's color is pretty accurate though, just got the shadow of my camera and tripod in the shot. So much to think about!
Switched the camera angle to the other side and it is interesting how it changed the entire lighting.
And here is a completely different place on our land where the grasses have been allowed to grow wild and free.  Their color complemented my outfit's colors and I thought it'd make a nice 'fall' backdrop.  Almost a little too bright though.
And here the grasses hide the topic of my post!  But it was fun to be outdoors on such a beautiful fall day.
Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)

12.09.2015

Flannel Receiving Blanket with Knit Binding

Dreaming of Spring, a quilt I made last winter as I 'dreamed' of Spring, recently found a new baby boy to keep warm and cozy.  But somehow I felt it needed something else and that 'something else' turned out to be a flannel receiving blanket bound in oh-so-soft knit binding.  There was much thought given to the finishing of the flannel receiving blanket from simply serging the edges, to hand-blanket stitching to even a crochet edging.  All techniques I've done before.  But I wanted this one to be different.  So I came up with the idea of a soft knit binding.  I've never used knit as binding, and I wanted to share a little of what I did here.  The flannel receiving blanket is out of the same flannel used as the backing on the quilt, so it will coordinate well.
For this receiving blanket I cut the flannel @38" x 36" as that was basically the size of the piece in my stash.  :)  The soft turquoise knit from the stash was cut 2 1/4", not on the bias as the knit was stretchy enough, folded wrong sides together and ironed to get a nice crease.  At this point I serged the raw edges together through my serger using the differential feed.  This worked perfectly on the knit because it sort of stabilized those 'raw' edges and made sewing to the flannel fabric so much easier.  In the photo below I've got it prepped to begin.  You can see more detail how I begin the binding application to the fabric here
With this blanket I stitched the binding to the front first with a 1/4" seam, then pinned very carefully to the back..... like so...
.... so I could remove the pins easily as I stitched in the ditch on the front.  Be sure to consider the corners and pin accordingly so they won't be caught in the feed dogs and accidentally stitch in a wrinkle.
I tried using my edge-stitch foot, but it didn't get me close enough and truly 'in-the-ditch', so I used my regular foot and sewed slowly and carefully.  Truthfully, there were a few places I 'missed' on the back, but it wasn't a big deal to close those up, as well as a few wonky places, again on the back.... but after washing the flannel blanket everything looks fine.
When I made Dreaming of Spring, it was for no one in particular at the time..... it was simply because I loved these fabrics together with the blue representing the sky, lots of lovely frogs and lizards playing about, green flannel for grass, peachy coral for soft Spring soil and lovely yellow gingham for the daffodils I love.  How thrilled I am that this will be going to a lovely family whose third baby was born yesterday!  A boy!  Perfect!
Oh, and I embroidered the little boy's name and date of birth at the bottom of the quilt to personalize it for them.  The white thread did not show up well at all against the yellow gingham, but that's okay as I wanted it to be there without standing out.
And not to leave out the other 2 siblings, I included candy bars for them.  Chocolate is always good, right?!
Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)

12.08.2015

A Nature Detective Day

Hello Dear Readers,
I did not mean to be quiet for so long, but hope to be writing more frequently now.  This afternoon's beautiful, mild fall weather beckoned me to come out and play Nature Detective.  I've been experimenting with my handmade clothes seeing what pieces transition from 'summer' wear to 'fall' wear.  Today I'm wearing a white rtw top and jacket with the Ottobre no. 14 Loose Fit Casual Pants from the 2.2015 Ottobre issue.  
A little 'highwater' for socks and boots...... they are comfortable and with the fabric's stain resistant treatment, I wasn't worried about kneeling in the leaf litter.  There's currently a pair on my cutting table that will be made for fall/winter wear and I lengthened them 2". 

Our beautiful distant mountains couldn't help but capture my attention this day.
And these silky Butterfly Weed seeds are what I was photographing.  Interesting how the seeds are on the verge of escaping from their pods.  I wonder if they'll be here tomorrow?
Happy Sewing Everyone! :)

10.01.2015

Dad, Peppers and Owls

Blogging has been part of my life now for many years, and it is most unusual for me to go a week without writing, much less over a month.  But this month has been a most unusual month.

My 85 year old father passed away quietly in his sleep on Sept. 13, 2015.  The photo below is Father's Day 2014 and represents him well with his dapper bow tie and baby blue eyes.  His passing put in motion a flurry of activity as my brother and his wife drove up from Florida to help plan the funeral and spend a week here handling numerous items associated with the passing of one's last living parent.  My mother went to her heavenly home October 2012.  So, so many things need to be done.
To add to the misery, if you will..... earlier in September I was stung by a yellow jacket and had a severe allergic reaction that lasted several days.  As I recovered from that malaise, I thought I was oh-so-clever to harvest this beautiful bounty from our garden and spent an entire afternoon cutting and chopping the peppers.  This picture, below, does not do the harvest justice as there were so, so many green peppers and a huge bucketful of sweet banana peppers.  Where am I going with all this?  Well, we all know..... or should know..... that when cutting jalapeno peppers one should be careful and wear gloves to protect the skin from a pepper burn.  BUT one should also be aware that sweet banana peppers can burn one's hands in the same manner.  I learned this the very hard way.  Within an hour of chopping the final banana pepper from the bucket, my hand started to burn.  The hand that handled stripping the seeds and membranes out of the pepper.  It was horrible...... a burn like I've never experienced.  The only relief I could find was gripping a bag of ice.... for hours on end....awful.  At 2 a.m. in the morning I stumbled onto this website explaining yellow mustard would give pepper burn relief.  (As a side note, reading in her comment section, other people had this type of reaction from sweet banana peppers too.)  Immediately after glopping a gracious plenty of yellow mustard all over my hand, I found relief from the intensity.  After a few more applications, and another hour or two later, I could finally go to bed and get some sort of sleep.  The burning stayed in my hand until mid-day the next day.  It was truly awful.  That next day was the day my dad passed away.  Since mid-September it's been hard to find any sort of 'normal' footing.
Things are beginning to slow down, a little, though Melissa certainly did not need to share her cold with all of us...... and I am turning back to sewing.  I'd started this cute top for Melissa 6 weeks ago and am trying to finish it for her.  She usually doesn't let me make anything for her, other than pj pants.... but this cute owl rayon challis fabric seemed so 'her'.  I'm copying a rtw shirt she loves that her bookbag is destroying, to give her more options in her wardrobe.  As a college senior at a university that has an expansive campus (i.e. lots, and lots of walking) that bookbag seems to get heavier and heavier and takes such a toll on her clothes.  I'm using NEWLOOK 6374.  Seems the exterior pattern jacket lists the pattern as S0803 which is strange, as all the pattern pieces note NEWLOOK 6374.
Here's where I'm at after modifying the pattern significantly to mimic the rtw shirt.  I'm stuck on the placket.  After I took this photo, below, I ripped out the seam, re-crisscrossed the placket and will see if that works better and doesn't pucker.  I am determined to master the placket insertion because I really like this look too and want to make more shirts this way.
My handmade wardrobe is far from complete and I certainly found that out recently as there were no appropriate handmade items to wear for the funeral and a few other occasions.  But it's a curious thing about having handmade items in one's wardrobe..... on some of the more stressful days, when I could, I'd wear one of my favorite handmade items, and felt such comfort. 

I hope to catch up on everyone's blogs soon.
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